Six senior army commanders were arrested in connection with the failed coup attempt in Turkey, including 64-year-old General Akin Öztürk, who in the 1990s was the Turkish military attaché to Israel, a Turkish official told reporters.
Öztürk later served as the commander of Turkey’s air force, as well as his country’s Tel Aviv embassy from 1998 to 2000. He stepped down as air force commander last year, but continued to serve on Turkey’s Supreme Military Council.
Prior to Friday’s coup attempt he was a celebrated military leader, boasting medals from his own air force as well as from NATO, the Israeli news website, Ynet, noted.
The Turkish prosecutor’s office has announced that General Öztürk and his alleged partners would be tried on charges of treason.
At least five other generals were detained in connection with the coup, including the commander of the Second Army, General Adem Huduti, the most senior officer to be apprehended so far, the Malatya Garrison Commander Avni Angun, and the third army commander Erdal Öztürk, Hurriyet reported.
A Turkish official said on Saturday that the coup to overthrow the Turkish government was planned for some time . However, the plans were brought forward due to an upcoming meeting of the Supreme Military Council in August, to consider military appointments and retirements.
— Lilly (@squashblossumm) July 17, 2016
Coup members feared they would be removed from their positions at next month’s meeting, the official said, adding that their immediate goal was to seize control of key locations, such as a bridge over the Bosphorus and Taksim Square in Istanbul and key institutions in the capital, Ankara, including the presidential palace, parliament and the intelligence agency.
They also attempted to take over communications infrastructure and actually managed to seize telecommunications facilities in some locations, the official said.
Turkish police on Saturday also apprehended two members of the country’s constitutional court, 10 members of the Council of State, and are searching for 140 members of the court of cassation, broadcaster NTV reported.
Turkish authorities ordered 2,745 judges and prosecutors to be detained.
(MEMO, Haaretz, PC)